Food Allergy Awareness in Turkey

Recognition of Food Allergy

It’s not as widespread in Turkey as they are in the USA and perhaps Europe (which is not saying much, as most Ameicans and Europeans are not well informed of the danger and possible life-threatening severity of some food allergies).

If anaphylaxis is a danger, you should consider taking Epi-pens (epinephrine self-injector syringes) with you—but you probably already do that. I don’t know if they are available in Turkey. I don’t anticipate that you’d have any problems getting them through Turkish customs inspectionMore…

Food Labeling

Most Turkish packaged foods are adequately labeled because of export requirements. The labels may be in Turkish only, or in several languages. If you familiarize yourself with the Turkish words for the substances that can cause an allergic reaction (glutenlambmilk and milk productsnuts, etc), the labels will be a help.

Turkish manufacturing may not have yet reached the labelling sophistication of US manufacturers, however. I don’t recall seeing anything in Turkey resembling the familiar “Processed in a factory that also processes nuts” type of label.

Also, I don’t know how careful Turkish manufacturers are about possible cross-contamination of one food product with bits of another.

Medical Care

Turkey has many highly qualified doctors and nurses, but of course it’s impossible to say who might attend in an allergic-reaction crisis situation, or what their qualifications might be.

Food & Medical Terms

Learn the relevant Turkish words for the foods and substances that can cause an allergic reaction, the medicines to treat it, etc. in your particular situation so you’ll be able to help medical personnel in an emergency.

Many Turkish medical terms are borrowed from English or French (such as alerji, pronounced ah-lehr-ZHEE), so you may only have to learn a slightly different pronunciation.

American Hospital in Istanbul

The Amerikan Hastanesi (American Admiral Bristol Hospital) in NişantaşıIstanbul, has lots of English-speaking staff (and perhaps a few Americans). They may be a good contact for your further questions.

—by Tom Brosnahan

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